Church foreclosure rate rising

Young congregations are struggling across this country as their physical plant’s construction debt, created when the economy was booming, is suddenly becoming a major drag on their ability to provide the programs that were fueling their growth.

According to this AP article:

“Foreclosures and delinquencies for congregations are rising, according to companies that specialize in church mortgages. With credit scarce, church construction sites have gone quiet, holding shells of sanctuaries that were meant to be completed months ago.

[…]’The economy has dramatically changed over the last year to 18 months in a way that very few, if any, had expected,’ said John Stoffel, administrative pastor at Seabreeze Church in Huntington, Calif.

[…]It’s hard to quantify just how many churches are at risk. Foreclosure records are scattered throughout county offices nationwide. Completing a foreclosure takes months or longer, so it’s too soon for many failures to show up on a company’s books. In financially stressed churches, clergy are often reluctant to discuss their plight. They don’t want to alarm their congregants, and they fear that any complaints about their dealings with banks will backfire.”

Read the full article here.

Seeker friendly churches, life-style congregations with attached Christian Malls and entertainment centers are probably most effected by all this. Episcopal congregations, which for the most part reside in smaller, affordable and paid-for buildings are going to have a much easier time weathering this particular storm.

Category : The Lead

Comment Policy
Our comment policy requires that you use your real name and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted

One Comment
  1. I wonder whether we might think about restoring older norms about not consecrating ground until it is paid off. That policy helped create the tendency not to have overmortgaged property, which will help some of our congregations weather the storm. I understand the desire to be able to leverage for missionary expansion, but we ought to create a culture that promotes upfront investment when planting a new congregation. Standing committees need to provide strong oversight on these questions.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *